Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    July 16, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

5:30 pm
5:31 pm
>> good morning and welcome to the dedication of westbrook plaza. this is an unusually beautiful day for which i'm sure we are all very grateful. i am the interim president of mercy housing. this event, which celebrates the
5:32 pm
creation of 49 units of affordable housing and the state of an art community health care center is the result of a strong partnership between mercy housing and the south of market health center. more than 12 years have worked -- of work. the dedication and commitment of numerous, talented, hard-working people. participation of a lot of public and private partners and a lot of money. it does not take just a village to create a community facility such as this. it takes an entire metropolis. we will take the opportunity today to thank many of the people and institutions who have contributed to this stunning facility and because there are so many to thank, i will be brief now so that we can move the program along. at this time, i am particularly pleased to enter is the director -- the executive director of the south of market health center, an extraordinary community leader, fabulous partner, and a great person to share the podium with. [applause]
5:33 pm
>> thank you. i really appreciate everyone being here today. let me first of all give you a little history. some of you may know mrs. westbrook and some of you may not know mrs. west work. but she is a dynamic leader in san francisco. her history is outstanding. it is so outstanding that we did not hesitate in naming this the westbrook plaza. she has done a lot for health services, not only in san francisco, but throughout the nation, and she has done a lot for housing. she served on a lot of commissions in san francisco. so because she has spent her whole life looking out for those
5:34 pm
who we sometimes must reach out to give a helping hand, she always did that and made sure and reminded all the politicians, all the directors and exactly what our responsibility is in taking care of the needy. with that philosophy, that is the reason i came to this organization. and because of her, that is why we push -- we really started this project almost 20 years ago. i came in 1990 to this organization and in 1991, the board and this community wanted a new medical facility. so out of that, it took years. how many mayors? one, two, three, maybe four. it was four. and it was under willie brown who put the first amount of money in the redevelopment
5:35 pm
budget to deal with side acquisition or at least to look for sites. it was not enough to buy the site, but at least we were looking for it. so we found this site. i appreciate everyone being here. this beautiful two buildings out of half an acre of land. it is amazing what can be done in san francisco with creativity. i want to thank everyone, including all the people here that have been involved. there have been so many. i could never named everyone, and i appreciate that. i would like to invite our first speaker up. it is our mayor, mayor edwin lee. it is nice to have a mayor that comes out to the community. this is a community facility for
5:36 pm
residents of san francisco, and being the mayor of san francisco, i'm sure his heart is as big as mine in terms of what this means to the residents of san francisco, so i want to introduce the mayor to everyone. [applause] >> thank you very much. i want to also continue the very important attribute that we have for eloise westbrook. when i was just a young workers never trying to cause trouble in the city on behalf of low-income residents, i have already heard of ms. westbrook. she was already helping lead the effort to improve housing conditions for all of our public housing tenants. my today, it is just really
5:37 pm
appropriate to make sure that our city honors mr. westbrook, her family, who is here today, i know. thank you very much for being here. this is very appropriate that this new project be in the name and westbrook loss of the another great place for people to understand and know about the history of the city. i am so happy to be part of this great city when it names and after people in the community who have done great work. i recognize that, and i know doris, our supervisor, was there as well. she recognizes that. thank you very much for being here, too. i want to also continue to congratulate mercy housing. the south of market health center, for working so collaborative we with our redevelopment agency. this $47 million project -- over 1/3 of it is the contribution of our redevelopment agency.
5:38 pm
thank you, redevelopment, for putting this together. [applause] it just shows again not only the fantastic collaboration with very reputable housing builders like mercy housing and they're wonderful financial participants -- i know wells fargo is here and u.s. bank and others, who are just a key to so much of our great housing we're doing -- but we are also combining it with some fantastic health provisions, which i know miss westbrook would be extremely crowded here. that combination coming together in the middle of our city and once again exemplifying how redevelopment works in our city and how it becomes yet another example for the rest of this state to understand the role of redevelopment. [applause] wonderful contribution. with that contribution, you can make a successful project but also fulfil such an important objective of this city, affordable housing with the
5:39 pm
support that the tenants and residents here will need. again, i want to thank all of the collaboration that this represents. the communication to the rest of the state that even in the hardest of economic times, when we pull the right entities together, when they are focused, and we rebuild community around the objectives we have, we have the winning combination, and we have a redevelopment agency and mercy housing and south of market health center to prove it. i want the governor to even come here to see what we have done. i want all the other officials to come, to recognize how we do it here in san francisco and how we can do it elsewhere throughout the state if we have a focused and do not give up on the old promises that this city has always made, that we will take care of the most needy and do it the right way, we will do
5:40 pm
it together. thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. >> well said. well presented. also in this project, not only in terms of the redevelopment agency, mercy housing, all the bankers south of market and all of our founders -- and we had a lot of people do in private donations for this project -- we also reached out to washington, d.c. to bring some of our money back to our community. it is a nice feeling when that happens. so both of our representatives have significant involvement in the success of this project. i would like to bring to the podium represented nicole rivera
5:41 pm
from nancy pelosi's office -- representative nicole rivera. she called me and said she may year by -- she may be here by the time was that the program. ok, well, we will go on to our renowned senator, who also had a significant contribution. i appreciate what they have done in terms of making sure that money that we pay taxes comes back to san francisco in some form or fashion. we have jim here to represent dianne feinstein. [applause] >> thanks. mayor, nice to see you. doris, always a pleasure to be with you. thank you so much. this is a longstanding relationship. the mayor said 35 years for him. more than 50 for the senator. we are grateful that her family is here to celebrate this.
5:42 pm
i was talking with sister lillian before we got started, and talking about the old hospital. the first mercy housing project that was done here a long time ago. diane was then the -- the senator then was there to pick the lottery. this time, you did not have to do a lottery. this time, you had a great partnership with the south of market health center. really an important piece of work and just a beautiful facility, so we like to thank you for all the good work you did and congratulate you on just a tremendous project. charlie, good job, buddy. [applause] >> the next person i would like to bring up to the podium is an individual that i am glad he is here. because he is with the federal
5:43 pm
government, and the south of market health center is funded by the federal government, and we want to continue that relationship. i would like to bring up to the podium dr. john meroini. -- meroni. he is a regional administrator. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. i am with the health resources and services administration, the agency that provides some support to the south of market health center in addition to many other health centers throughout california. region 9, which includes arizona and nevada, hawaii, specific jurisdictions, and throughout the united states. i had the opportunity -- actually, i work just a few blocks away at the modern federal building towards market street. i must confess that my first visit to the south of market health center was in december
5:44 pm
when the administrator was in san francisco, and we had the opportunity to visit the old space or the current space, and the new space as it was being billed out. i must say, we were all just so impressed. i had a little bit of envy. reconsidering where i should seek my primary care. such a beautiful, impressive space. and though the recovery act has been helpful in making these expansions possible, and the affordable care act as well, throughout the united states, is contributing to expansion of the health center program, such that by 2015, the program which serve nearly 20 million people in 2010 will serve as many as 40 million persons by 2015. i am just so excited and pleased
5:45 pm
to be here. congratulations. thank you. [applause] >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> the next person i would like to bring to the podium -- i think my first experience interfacing with him was when we broke ground. he came to the groundbreaking. this is probably one of the unique projects under his policy jurisdiction. the president of the redevelopment commission. let me just say this -- that the redevelopment has been a tremendous friend to this project and to the community. all the things that people i have heard say about the redevelopment -- they really do not realize how positive the
5:46 pm
redevelopment has an impact on the development of a community. they do an outstanding job of working with communities and really, they do not do anything to really hurt communities. it is more to build up the community. so i would like to bring the president to this podium. thank you. >> yes, it is truly a great day. seems like yesterday, which was two years ago, i think i saw in this same spot and watched a show will go in the ground and some dirt spread around. today, we are surrounded by this magnificent structures which will serve our community for a long time to come. before i go any further, i would like to acknowledge my fellow commissioners who are here today, who have served the redevelopment agency commission longer than i have, who i emily
5:47 pm
missing today is mr. lee roy king -- who i am really missing today. mr. king was probably on the commission before this process even started. he is the one who should be here in my place to recognize this opening and thank everybody who has participated. i would like to acknowledge ms. augustino. and mr. range. i have never seen such a strong advocate for his community. he is always there for south of market. he is always they're not only for his project but everybody else's product. he is a true hero in the south of market area. thank you very much for your great dedication. [applause] at redevelopment agency, we see a lot of community groups, community tax theory the south
5:48 pm
of market -- community pac's. the south of market pac really sets the bar throughout the city. they should be extremely thankful to the participants and the board because they really make things happen. congratulations and thanks to them. i would also like to thank the mayor. on behalf of all of his agencies that have served, have been such a great partnership to this project and to redevelopment agency. of course, nothing would happen without the lenders and the financial partners, thanks very much to them. and to the westbrook family, this gives you something to be proud of forever. and pass on to further generations so ms. westbrook's name will never be lost and she
5:49 pm
will always be known as a true creator. before i am given a bully pulpit, i have to of knowledge the fact that there is a missing group from the state here. redevelopment, you may have heard, is in peril. as was recognized, redevelopment contributes significantly to the san francisco community. we have phenomenal projects all over the place, this being just one of them. you have dedicated commissioners. you have dedicated staff, dedicated executive director who spends 24/7 making san francisco a better place, and the results are in place. i do not see our state senator here. i do not see representatives from the assembly. jerry brown is a good friend of mine, but in this case, i respectfully disagree with the direction he has taken, by trying to dismiss redevelopment. [applause]
5:50 pm
with the incentive that you can look around today, go upstairs and see the magnificent health center where i wish my dentist's office was as nice as that dennis office. i would encourage you all please contact your local assemblyman, to contact state senator leno, to contact the governor and just tell him it is wrong. and for san francisco to move forward, we need to continue redevelopment and continue their great work. congratulations. thank you. [applause] >> just a quick minute. it is nice to be in charge of the podium because you can do a lot of things independently. [laughter] i would like for the westbrook family to stand out. would you please stand up? [applause]
5:51 pm
fantastic. thank you. i also would like for the board of directors as the south of market health center to stand up. [applause] let me just say that i could not do my job without the board of directors, and i really appreciate the board. they are community people. they have the trust and confidence in the staff, in their administration, and gave us the full authority to work towards developing this project. it is not like i had to run back to them every time and say, "would you approve this? would you approve this?" it is the trust in the relationship that is important to make something like this work, and i really appreciate that from my board of directors.
5:52 pm
thank you very much. [applause] i would like to bring you back to the podium, val. >> i was thinking the same thing about the dental clinic. i was thinking i wish my dental office was as nice as this. i, too, am going to speak about redevelopment, but i do not want to be too repetitive. we have talked about the importance of the financial investment that the redevelopment agency has in this community facility. what i want to talk about a little bit is what great staff partners we have in the redevelopment office. it is not that often high in many other cities where we have collegial and mind-expanding teammates in this office. in the case of the redevelopment
5:53 pm
agency, and i am likely to forget somebody, so to all of you for the agency sitting over there, i apologize ahead of time here ultimately, the deputy director who is a longtime partner of ours and with and we do some of our best thinking and best work, but this advantage to work on this project for many years, phil o'brien, chris harris, derek smith, the asset manager, mike rizzo -- did i forget anybody? you guys are just awesome. we love working with you. i suppose a big part of you is so often because you have a great leader. i would like to invite fred blackwell up to the podium.
5:54 pm
>> usually, i thank the staff, and the mayor has already done that. but this is a project that is so overwhelming that i am still not at a loss for words. [laughter] you know, if there is a project that better exemplifies what redevelopment should and can do, i would like to see it. if there is a set of partners that would be better to work with, i would like to see them. and if there's a more a corporate woman building in a project like this to be named after, and i would like to meet her. in terms of the redevelopment agency's role in this, agency funds were used to acquire the site, to provide the financing for the affordable housing. grant funds were used for the
5:55 pm
clinic. in terms of the use of tax increment and agency funds, again, i think this is a shining example of what redevelopment can do and the reason why it should sit around. the partnership on this has been remarkable, though. at this point, to say a couple of things about mercy housing and the south of market health center -- mercy housing is probably one of our most outstanding partners. we have literally worked on probably thousands the project, and mercy housing's commitment is this. no matter what your income, even if you may not even have an income, you deserve the highest quality that well-designed housing that we can make. [applause] and you can see that here. 49 units, a wonderful play
5:56 pm
ground here, a computer center, you name it, it is here for a range of incomes. just like mercy, though, the south of market health center is, i think, kind of comparable to few. just like mercy housing was a commitment on the housing side, charlie range pose a commitment says no matter what kind of health insurance plan you have, even if you may not have one, no matter what your income is, you deserve the highest quality best services, state of the arts center in order to meet your health needs. and if you have not looked at the center, you have to check it out. the dental facilities are amazing. matter of fact, i think i have some work that needs to get done. [laughter] the exam rooms are state of the art. even the storage facility --
5:57 pm
there's a button you can press in the storage facility. this is what low-income folks deserve in terms of access to services, and i am glad it is available to them. finally, you know, people have talked about 35 and 50 and 20 years -- all of that work that preceded me. i have only heard about that work through people liked doris ward, people like espanola jackson, but it is very clear to me that if people like me are only able to sit in and do the kinds of things we're able to do because of people like mrs. westbrook, i would like to thank her family for sharing her with us and allowing her to do the
5:58 pm
kind of worked that should be done. let me close by saying there are a couple of staff members at the redevelopment agency who have worked very hard. in addition to the money that has been put on the table, staff have worked tirelessly with partners to find funds to turn over every rock that was needed in order to make sure that the money was available to turn this out the way it was. this has been a project that has been near and dear to his heart. and as a dangerous, bill o'brien, sally forth, chris harris, mike rizzo, angela , heidi, kimberly, al, ricky -- these people represent about every aspect of the agency's work from finance to real-estate to housing and everything. they along with the commission, along with the pac, along with mercy and the south of market
5:59 pm
health center, always it -- deserve a resounding round of applause. >> we came to seven straight about 10 years ago. -- 7th street about 10 years ago. the environment is huge. it is stronger than willpower. surrounding yourself with artists, being in a culture where artists are driving, and where a huge amount of